25 Feb2012

A fancy name, but nearly effortless to make! A chef/cook/friend came over for dinner the other night, with another chef in tow, and the four of us enjoyed a relatively simple meal that I completely forgot to photograph. We had a slightly chilled seafood salad with freshly steamed and picked crabmeat, brined medium shrimp and some tiny squid with a lemon vinaigrette, a touch of chili and lots of Italian parsley as a starter, enjoyed with a well-chilled bottle of rosé champagne that the guests brought with them. We soon moved onto two versions of bistecca a la fiorentina (one pre-marinated and one completely naked as specified in Pellegrino Artusi’s tome, the Art of Fine Eating) to compare and contrast… and with that we had a heavier red wine, and didn’t realize we had a third of the bottle of champagne left over. With the steaks, I also served a warm spinach salad, a potato and rutabaga mash that was WONDERFUL, and some oven roasted baby carrots. For dessert, some sliced strawberries from the Mt. Province mixed with sliced Cebu mangoes and imported blueberries all drizzled with heavy cream.

So, what to do with the leftover champagne? A really easy granita that doesn’t require any special equipment or any complicated instructions. To make, just stem roughly 4 cups of red seedless grapes and throw them into a blender. Add about 1/4 cup (or more) of simple syrup (half cup of sugar with roughly 1/4 cup water), and about 3/4 to 1 cup of leftover champagne. Blend until well mixed, and strain solids/skins out of the liquid. Place the strained liquid in a shallow metal or glass pan and place in the freezer. After an hour or two, check to see if ice crystals have formed and scrape with a fork. Scrape every 45 minutes after that until it reaches a nice consistency and it is quite dry. Serve at that point. If you are making this for a dinner, start your granita at about 1-2pm, depending on how cold your freezer is. The results? Very, very nice for the minimal effort required. Remember that coldness deadens the sweetness, hence the high sugar content of most frozen desserts. The alcohol content of the champagne must help with the texture of the dessert, not to mention the flavor… it adds a bit of sophistication, without screaming “leftovers”… :) I served this about an hour shy of the ideal temperature, but it was still pretty good, and looked fantastic as well. I need to remember this for fancy and festive holiday dinners. Some folks might leave the grape skins in, but I was going for a clearer granita, hence straining them out. :)

The morning after, I snapped these shots of the granita in dappled sunlight… and in a classic crystal champagne saucer from Baccarat, it looked like a million bucks. :)

 

COMMENTS:

  1. corrine says:

    Sounds delish! Have you tried making granita using your ice cream maker?

    Feb 25, 2012 | 1:35 pm

     
  2. knifenut says:

    MM, any comments on the marinated vs naked bistecca a la fiorentina? I’m also curious as to what marinade you used and for how long was it marinated? I have a feeling all my questions will be answered in another post exclusively dedicated to the main course. :)

    Feb 25, 2012 | 6:29 pm

     
  3. Mom-Friday says:

    It does look like a million bucks! :) I will try to do this sometime.

    I assume this will also work with any other champagne?
    I have white zinfandel and with it’s pinkish color, I would also love to try it with your granita recipe.

    Feb 25, 2012 | 6:59 pm

     
  4. Marketman says:

    Mom-Friday, yes, it should work with most sparkling wines… knifenut, unfortunately, no post on the bistecca as I was pre-occupied with dinner and guests and didn’t photograph the versions. Essentially, I did one bare with no herbs, spices, oil, etc. and just added salt AFTER sides were seared on a hot coal fire with hickory chips. The second version was marinated for a couple of hours in a mixture of chopped fresh rosemary, black pepper and good olive oil. It was salted just after searing. If your meat is spectacularly good, I can see going the naked route… if you want to flavor the meat a bit, then marinate. Either way, they were quite good, and I am not sure if the experiment yielded conclusive or convincing results. corrine, no, didn’t use ice cream maker, I figured it would be easier to wash just a fork… :)

    Feb 25, 2012 | 7:42 pm

     
  5. F says:

    Hi MM. Did you get the bistecca here? Chianina?

    Feb 25, 2012 | 9:19 pm

     
  6. Marketman says:

    F, they weren’t “real” bistecca. They were large porterhouse steaks, cut 2+ inches thick, but not chiannina…

    Feb 25, 2012 | 9:25 pm

     
  7. jannah says:

    Feb 26, 2012 | 4:08 am

     
  8. Marketman says:

    jannah, thanks for the link… and thank you Spanky. :)

    Feb 26, 2012 | 6:23 am

     
  9. john says:

    i really like this dish
    it is refreshing looking and makes me even more hungry
    love this dish

    Feb 26, 2012 | 6:51 am

     
  10. PITS, MANILA says:

    enjoying everything i read and see in marketmanila.

    Feb 26, 2012 | 6:38 pm

     
  11. sur says:

    These granitas are perfect transitional courses made not just with leftover veuve but seasonal fruits and juice– palate cleansers, as I call it.

    Feb 28, 2012 | 12:47 am

     
  12. Ray says:

    Oooo nice. I am a fan of these alcoholic concoctions and even try to make some and share it off the site. Will give this a try (Maybe with a cheaper sparkling since budget is a bit tight nowadays :P )

    Feb 29, 2012 | 11:49 pm

     
 

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